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Public Policy and Administration


Melanye V. Smith


Interview strategies applied in adult criminal justice settings focus on the interviewer and concentrate on obtaining information for the courts, while simultaneously neglecting a forensic understanding of interviewees, including the interviewee's decision-making and behavioral health impairments. As a consequence, there is a deficiency of evidence-based research regarding interview practices with persons diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Using social control and neutralization theories as the foundation, the purpose of this case study of a single justice system in the United States was to better understand the perspectives and experiences of ASPD diagnosed inmates (n =5) compared to incarcerated participants without any mental health diagnosis (n =5) regarding willingness to cooperate with the interviewer. Interview data were triangulated with the Gudjonsson Confession Questionnaire – Revised. Data were inductively coded and then subjected to a thematic analysis procedure. Results indicate that external and internal pressures, intoxication, perception of proof, involvement of third parties, and/or a lack of insight into diagnostic features of ASPD influenced decisions to cooperate with an interviewer, thereby impacting the quality of interview results. The positive social change implications of this study include recommendations to criminal justice systems to explore holistic interview strategies that may improve interview outcomes. Adhering to this recommendation may improve the quality of interviews and ensure that justice system objectives related to truthfulness and accuracy are enhanced as well as improve mental health outcomes of criminal offenders.